15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – Homily

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14 (Luke 8:8)
Romans 8:18-23
Matthew 13:1-23
July 12, 2020

Word of what Jesus is doing and saying had spread such that large crowds were coming to him.  So, He got into a boat and spoke to the people on shore.

Jesus was practicing good social distancing from the crowd.

As He preached to them, He spoke in parables.  Why?  Because “They look but do not see, and hear but do not listen.”  The parables were an instructional tool to draw people to listen. 

God’s word is not to return to him void, instead “achieving the end for which” He sent it.  God wants us to listen.

Today, it is the Parable of the Sower that Jesus tells to his disciples.  He then explains the parable to his disciples.

The seed is sown on four types of soil.

The first is the “path,” meaning a path where the ground is packed from so many people walking on it that the surface has become hard and impervious so nothing can grow on it.

In terms of faith, here I might consider the example of a person who is against the faith but comes for a funeral.  They come because they cared about the person the funeral is for but they refuse to be open to what they hear at the funeral.  So, the seed of faith offered to them cannot grow. 

Why offer them the seed of faith?  Because we don’t know if they are open or not.  We welcome them, offer them hope of new life, and leave it to them.

The second type of soil is the rocky ground.  Again, I use the example of someone who comes to church for a funeral.  However, this type, the person is at least open to the possibility of faith.  Their openness might be based on their trust in the person who the funeral is for as a good person.  They know faith was important to the person, so they are at least willing to listen.  Yet, they don’t take what they hear to heart.

The third type of soil is that among thorns.  Again, think of the visitor at a funeral.  In this case, they are not just open.  They are “curious”.  They want to hear more.  Maybe they start coming to church regularly but then earthly things pull them away.  Faith means something to them but they are not ready to make a real commitment to put God first. 

Here I think of the line from Paul today, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us.”  The person where the seed is sown among thorns might be more concerned with avoiding suffering in this world and finding pleasure than they are in knowing God.  Paul reminds us that the sufferings we endure from this world are nothing to the glory we will know in Heaven.

That brings us to the fourth type of soil.  The seed flourishes and bears fruit “a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”  They have embraced the faith and have been transformed by it.

You have come here today for Mass.  I hope most of you have come willingly, even if “encouraged” by a spouse or a parent.  Are you open to being transformed by what is offered to you today? 

You see, you can come but not be transformed.

Are you open to being transformed by the Word of God that is offered to us in the readings and broken open now in the homily?

Are you open to being transformed in receiving the Body and Blood of Christ to become the Body of Christ ourselves?

Where are you in your faith journey?  I offer five categories that Sherry Weddell offers in her book, Forming Intentional Disciples (Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, Huntington, IN, 2012.

  1.  Initial Trust – someone you trust has pointed you to Jesus
  2. Spiritual Curiosity – you might have questions but aren’t looking to change
  3. Spiritual Openness – you are considering what faith really offers
  4. Spiritual Seeking – you are open to being transformed by faith
  5. Intentional Discipleship – you are committed to being transformed and living as Jesus teaches.

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